Is road cycling good exercise for men over 50?

Good exercise for men over 50

So this is a tricky one for me, I have always been a keen sportsman and very competitive, so when at the age of 48 I started to have a knee issue, mainly during games of tennis and when out jogging I turned to cycling as an option.

Cycling is a great low impact form of exercise which develops strong muscles around the knees and a healthy heart, before long I was putting in some serious mileage and shedding the pounds, back in the game!

What if you want to maintain a strong physique?

As a fitness professional I would say absolutely! It can be both challenging and social, it has made me focus on my nutrition and strength, due to the hilly terrain where I live, which is a good thing as at this age it is important to pay attention to muscle mass and functional fitness.Exercise for men over 50

There are 4 mistakes you should avoid.

Mistake 1: Not using speed work

This is where the mileage junkies hang out, it’s all about time in the saddle and typically all at pretty much the same intensity, which on a scale of 1 to 10, one being very easy, they tend to work at a 5 or 6. this is not good if you are concerned about preserving muscle, I call these junk miles as so much of your training time in this zone means that you’re never challenging yourself ¬†enough to make your body adapt and improve.

Mistake 2: doing the same thing all the time

Doing the same work out on the same day, week after week this is unnecessary and boring, try to have as much variety as possible. If you decide to make Tuesday’s for interval, Thursday’s hills and long rides at the weekend you can get into a rut. play around with when and where you can fit your rides in, making it easier to adjust when you life throws you a curve ball.

Mistake 3: Not allowing recovery

Now this is kind of a positive mistake as it shows that you have become a bike enthusiast that trains regularly and is pretty serious about things. These are the guys who when out with their club on a group ride tend to find it tough keeping up with the fast boys at the front, but never miss a session. As you get older it takes longer to recover, if you are training 3/4 times a week at high intensity, there is probably no way you will get the chance for a complete recovery. I always include a solo ride that is super easy paying attention to my heart rate and enjoying the scenery.

Mistake 4: Staying on the bike all the time

Never getting off the bike to do any other kind of training. All cyclist can improve their comfort, endurance and speed by training off the bike, as well as developing their overall health and fitness. I have seen a lot of cyclist that train harder or more often than me, those same cyclist are also more overweight and are carrying more injuries than me too. this could be due to poor diets, muscle imbalances, a plateau in their training, or a combination of all of those factors.

Off the bike training should include flexibility, mobility and strength training, at the end of the day most of us have jobs that require us to be seated for long periods of time, cycling then puts us into a even worse position, we owe it to ourselves to try and redress the balance. strength-exercise-for-men-over-50

Avoid the four mistakes above and I believe a 50 year old can enjoy at least another 20 years quality time in the saddle, enjoy!

 

 

 

11 Comments

  • Standtall

    Reply Reply September 11, 2016

    Yes cycling is a low impact exercise and is good for older people, just like skiing or swimming. Anyhow cycling can be quite intense, older people especially with high blood pressure have to be a bit more careful when cycling.

    • Stan

      Reply Reply September 11, 2016

      AS with any form of vigorous exercise I would always advice anyone, regardless of age, who is embarking on a new exercise regime to first seek medical advice from their doctor. On a personal note due to my family history, hypertension is an issue for me and with the research I have done I’m very comfortable prescribing cycling for older people as a method to get in shape.

  • Kathy Keith

    Reply Reply September 11, 2016

    Hi, Stan!

    Great tips for cycling. I have a great bike, but no real place to ride it in my neighborhood because of hills. I have to load the bike onto my car and carry it somewhere to get a good ride in. Are the stationary stands that are available as good for non-competitive exercise for someone over 50?

    • fitbodycyclist

      Reply Reply September 11, 2016

      Hi Kathy,

      I know what you mean about having to transfer your bike to an appropriate place to start your ride, I do the same!
      When you say ‘stationary stand’ I’m thinking that you are talking about a turbo trainer? They are a fantastic option
      If, for what ever reason you are unable to get out on your bike, be it weather, environment or time constraints.

  • Dave

    Reply Reply September 16, 2016

    These are all good cycling tips. I am particularly pleased that you mention cycling for older people. I have an old Nishiki road bike but need to dust it off as I haven’t ridden for a while. It is very flat where I am and in the summer temperatures are over 100 degrees so my riding is limited. A lot of helpful information here.

    • fitbodycyclist

      Reply Reply September 17, 2016

      Hmm, flat and very hot, you wouldn’t be based in the middle east by any chance Dave?
      It gets pretty sticky down here in southern Spain too, but not 100 degrees, thank goodness!

  • Trevor Moy

    Reply Reply September 28, 2016

    I used to love cycling. Too hot in Thailand, but now I’m back in the UK, I’m looking forward to getting back on a bike and burning some fat. Getting older you definitely. need some warm up before doing anything as you certainly feel it the next day. Nicely written and good detail

    • fitbodycyclist

      Reply Reply September 28, 2016

      Yes might not be a good idea to go tearing off into an interval session if you’ve not been doing anything for a while. The low impact nature of cycling is good for the joints, it wouldn’t take long to see a big improvement in your fitness.

      Go for it, you will not be sorry!

  • Kenny Lee

    Reply Reply October 12, 2016

    I do cycle but I never really treat it as a sport or a means for fitness. That’s because I am more into martial arts. But combat sports are no good for people over 30’s and maybe I should start considering cycling as the next fitness routine for me. At least I can still cycle for the coming 3 to 4 decades.

    • fitbodycyclist

      Reply Reply October 13, 2016

      Might be a good strategy to think about Kenny. You can still challenge yourself, but not have the injury risks of some contact sports. If you still feel like you want to do some martial arts, the two activities would compliment each other.

  • Arthur Siew

    Reply Reply October 30, 2016

    I think it is a better sport than running, Cycling does not put as much strain on the knee and ankle as compared to running, so I think that it is better for the older man.

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